My overriding impression from to visiting Zimbabwe and Botswana in 2006 was what an impossible position the black African population continue to find themselves in. Ownership of resources remains outside their hands to a large extent with outside interests continuing to “own” land and mineral deposits. So when Gordon Brown threatened Mugabe with withdrawing British companies, Mugabe’s response was “what are you waiting for?”
The European settlers and their dependents may be having a hard time with inflation rising exponentially, but many, if not most continue to have funds stashed away outside the country. A pound will buy billions of worthless Zimbabwean currency. This is not the case for those without links outside, although as we know many now have relatives who have fled. In UK thousands are still being forced to return. In South Africa resentment of Zimbabweans competing with local residents for jobs has spilled over into violence. It was said that the Zimbabweans were rather better educated than those they attempted to settle alongside.
As we see at every turn outside attempts to interfere with another nation turn into catastrophe for the people. The outsiders become an occupying power and have their own agenda to follow. Zimbabwe may not have oil, but it is rich in mineral resources. A UN delegation to Zimbabwe reminds us that the sanctions being proposed, on the basis of Mugabe’s behaviour towards the outcome of elections, has something else in mind.
Another report today (12/7/2008: Independent) talks about Gordon Brown offering military aid to Nigeria, which is an act to justify the Mugabe fear that the U.S. and Britain want to overturn the gains of independence. Outsiders still own, or have considerable stakes in, land and mining rights across the continent. Clearly if Mugabe is seen to be successful in returning this to Africans then others will continue to support him. While many have condemned him in words the African Union are not about to take any action against him: certainly not the sort that western governments are trying to get the UN to agree to.